As a gathering place for business professionals, LinkedIn can be a valuable social media channel for public libraries. More than 100 million people use the site monthly, and the average CEO has 930 LinkedIn connections, according to Brandwatch. Thus, it’s an excellent avenue for connecting and building relationships with local entrepreneurs, job seekers and freelancers.
If LinkedIn hasn’t been part of your public library strategy, there are a few things to keep in mind. To be active on the network, you’ll need to set up a personal profile. But to get the full benefits of LinkedIn, your public library should have its own company page. Local business professionals can then follow the page and, as you share library news, it will show up in their LinkedIn news feeds.
You’ll also want to explore LinkedIn Groups, which offer like-minded professionals the opportunity to discuss best practices, get advice and gather ideas about their areas of specialty. Groups can help you share information about relevant library events with an interested audience. What’s more, you can create a group dedicated to a topic of interest to your community, such as small business resources.
Unlike other social media channels, LinkedIn doesn’t require as many resources to manage. One to three updates a week is sufficient, and if you choose to advertise an event, the cost can be reasonable. To get you started, here are 10 ways you can use the social network to engage local businesses and professionals.
Post news about the library.
Although your updates should be relevant to a business-oriented audience, take advantage of the civic-minded nature of many small business owners. Use your page as a way to encourage support of the public library, from donations to board seats.
Join local business groups.
There are several local business groups that you can join, such as the local chambers of commerce, networking groups or trade associations. Share details about your event spaces and business resources, as well as cultivate connections to help you advocate for the library.
Engage career and job seeker groups.
Members are most often looking for their next opportunity or assistance in their job search. Promote networking events as well as library databases that can help candidates discover companies that match their interests.
Cultivate local entrepreneur and small business groups.
Besides sharing information about library business events and resources, use your membership to identify business people who can speak at your next workshop or help with advocacy efforts.
Start your own discussion group.
This is an excellent way to start a two-way conversation with library stakeholders. A library-owned group can provide valuable information about pressing business and community issues, as well as solicit feedback on library services.
Create targeted advertising.
Running a business event? Advertising on LinkedIn can be an economical way to attract local professionals. For more about how to advertise, check out this beginner’s guide from Hubspot, as well as these instructions from LinkedIn. Be careful, though, about setting a budget and a time-frame for your campaign. The costs can add up quickly, though it is possible to run a short campaign with a small budget.
Additionally, you can…
Publish articles about how to use business resources.
Start a discussion about the latest business book.
Find business experts to speak at your next career fair or as an instructor for professional workshops.
Use for your own professional development. Join public library groups, including ALA’s group.
Using LinkedIn can help you extend your library’s outreach to a wider audience within your local business community. With very little effort, you can promote public library resources, events and workshops and cultivate stronger relationships with local business professionals.